You may be looking at that title and wondering if I have completely lost my mind. Time for a story from the mountains. I had forgotten about it but was reminded when the family gathered to reminisce over my aunt.
One weekend at the mountains it was announced we'd be going to The Lucky Dot to see the boom-bahs. Now understand The Lucky Dot was one of those places I'd never been invited as a kid. I knew the grown ups went there and had a rollicking good time. I'd heard the snickers and seen the knowing smiles and gotten a sense that there was some forbidden joy to be found at The Lucky Dot. It was a backwoods sort of bar and restaurant. There were absolutely no airs put on at The Lucky Dot. It was a place much beloved by the locals, whether that was due to the quality of the fare, the friendliness of the service, or simply because it was all that was available I do not know.
In any event I was finally being invited to go there with the big people....and we were going to see the boom-bahs. However, I had no idea what a boom-bah was. Being the curious kid I was, I asked. The various adults drew a breath in shock and responded with an incredulous, "You don't know what a boom-bah is?" I had to admit I didn't but now I was even more curious. The grown ups murmured amongst themselves about how much to tell me. I stood there anxiously hoping they'd clue me in because now I was just sure a boom-bah just be some sort of amazing thing.
I inquired again. The adults spoke in serious tones about how one must be of a certain age and maturity to experience a boom-bah. I assured them I could handle it if only they'd clue me in. They said I'd just have to go along with them and wait patiently for the boom-bahs to come out. My imagination was running wild with thoughts of what this exotic thing could possibly be. I thought it must be very sophisticated or possibly risque since the adults around me we so reluctant to go into detail (Ok, so in my head I had it built up to be some weird cross between a burlesque striptease and some wild tribal initiation like you might see documented in National Geographic. Vast amounts of alcohol and tobacco were likely to be involved as well. And cussing. We'd be covering all the taboos this night.). That was the only reasonable explanation my young mind could conceive.
So off we went to The Lucky Dot. We sat at our table. My eyes darted around the room searching for something exciting. I saw nothing unusual. I asked when the boom-bahs would come out. "Soon," they said. We ordered food. I continued to stay on high alert. I asked how I would recognize a boom-bah. Again, in somber tones I was told I would just KNOW. At the end of the meal I was nearly crawling out of my skin in anticipation of being initiated into some great adult mystery. I couldn't stand it another second. "Where are the boom-bahs??!!!"
My grandparents, my mother, and my aunt burst out laughing and pointed to the corner of the room. Imagine my reaction when I saw this. Yes, THAT is a boom-bah...a tambourine, cymbals, bells, and all manner of other noisemakers mounted on a pogo stick (the one in the picture is a relatively sedate and unadorned example).
I was utterly deflated. I very nearly cussed. I will say it's hard not to smile when one is played though. And now for your viewing and listening pleasure...the closest thing I could find in my exhaustive 5 minute search of the interwebz. It's actually a stumpf fiddle. For a boom-bah, make sure it has cymbals on top and a few bells dangling for a nice loud crashing effect whenever it's bounced.